"The Citizen"


National Portrait Gallery -- Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC

(As part of Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons' IDENTIFY performance)

During a live performance at the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC, I recited the naturalization oath to obtain United States citizenship in front of several portraits of George Washington. In the oath I agree to renounce my Ethiopian heritage in order to defend the U.S. Constitution. After reciting each part of the oath, I planted a paper with a segment of the oath written on it in a mound of soil that I pulled out from green fabric bags that I carried around my waist. This five minute solo performance was a segment of a larger 90 minute performance in the IDENTIFY series at the National Portrait Gallery, lead by Afro-Cuban artist Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons.

Photo documentation courtesy of Nikki A. Green and the National Portrait Gallery.